Telcos meet MHA over subscriber verification

Led by Bharti Group chairman Sunil Mittal, the telecom operators met Home Secretary G K Pillai and raised issues relating to subscriber verification especially in the states where, they (operators) claimed that involvement of police was creating problems.

According to sources, nearly 30 lakh mobile subscribers have been disconnected from their respective networks due to either incomplete or no verification.

The operators, sources said, informed Pillai that subscribers were being asked to be present at the police stations for verification and termed it as harassment.There seems to be lack of coordination between the Centre and the states over the mechanism to be followed to complete the verification process.

They also said that the steps followed by some states for subscriber verification were not in conformity with the guidelines issued by the Department of Telecom (DoT) and asked the government to look into it.

When Contacted, Rajan Mathews, Director General of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), said: "We are willing to work with the government to address security concerns but we want that there is proper coordination between the Centre and states and the verification is as per the guidelines of the DoT."

This comes on heels of Home Ministry's direction to the DoT with regard to import of telecom equipments and also controversy over BlackBerry operations over monitoring of content.

India has nearly 700 million telecom subscribers both in GSM and CDMA space. The operators are facing some problems in case of old subscribers when the verification norms were not so strict.

However, since the last few years the subscriber verification has become a major issue in the wake of security threat and misuse of mobile phones by terrorists.The operators said that the meeting with Pillai was very useful and hoped that the verification mechanism would become smooth in the future.

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